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Healthier soul food cookbook takes fresh approach to traditional recipes for “Go Red” Heart Health Month


The Healthier Traditions Cookbook: Soul Food, a healthy twist on traditional Southern dishes, features 17 classic recipes and is available for complimentary download today. The cookbook, a collaboration of Transamerica Center for Health Studies® (TCHS) with theAssociation of Black Women Physicians (ABWP), helps maintain the integrity of these soul food dishes, while identifying easy steps people can take to enjoy healthier versions. Each recipe was adapted and tested by two nutritionists to ensure an increase in nutritional value and decrease in caloric value.

According to the American Heart Association, “heart disease is the No. 1 killer for all Americans, and stroke is also a leading cause of death. As frightening as those statistics are, the risks of getting those diseases are even higher for African-AmericansHigh blood pressureobesity and diabetes are the most common conditions that increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.” The American Heart Association highlights more startling statistics:

  • Cardiovascular diseases kill nearly 50,000 African-American women annually.
  • Of African-American women ages 20 and older, 49 percent have heart diseases.
  • Only 1 in 5 African-American women believes she is personally at risk.
  • Only 52 percent of African-American women are aware of the signs and symptoms of a heart attack.
  • Only 36 percent of African-American women know that heart disease is their greatest health risk.

Recipes in the cookbook include Red Beans and Rice, Gumbo, Pan-fried Catfish, Smothered Pork Chops, and Peach Cobbler, and have a breakdown of the calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrate, fiber and protein content of the dish. In addition, how-to videos that highlight the preparation of some of the dishes are available on TCHS’s website and YouTube channel.

Transamerica Center for Health Studies is proud to partner with the Association of Black Women Physiciansto create a soul food cookbook that increases the nutritional value of these recipes while keeping the heartiness of Southern favorites,” said Hector De La Torre, executive director of TCHS. “This is the third cookbook we have prepared and, consistent with our values, these recipes help to improve health and wellness. Soul food and Southern cuisine have a history as rich as their flavors, and this cookbook includes interesting facts about soul food history, in addition to helpful nutrition facts.”

With the impact of obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes on the African-American community, the recipes are both nutritious and flavorful, and can help to empower healthier choices around the dinner table. For example, nutritionists make simple substitutions like swapping out regular flour for whole wheat flour in cornbread, and replacing bacon while keeping the smoky flavor with paprika in collard greens.

“The Association of Black Women Physicians empowers Black Women to lead in health and wellness for ourselves and the community through premiere educational programs, resources, and partnerships like this one with Transamerica Center for Health Studies that help to spur healthier eating choices,” said Sherril Rieux, M.D., from the Association of Black Women Physicians. “Our patients are always asking for ways to eat healthier, and this cookbook was a great way to highlight the health benefits of dishes that have brought happy memories to families for generations.”

The Healthier Traditions cookbook complements other ABWP initiatives like its wellness workshops, which are organized, implemented and facilitated by physician volunteers. The series is offered in community forums to educate families about diabetes, hypertension, asthma, HIV/AIDS, obesity, and general health and wellness issues. These workshops serve as a bridge between health providers to empower individuals to be more active participants in their own health care.

TCHS and ABWP remain committed to empowering consumers to achieve the best outcomes in their personal health and wellness. Please visit the TCHS website to download this cookbook for free and browse our previous cookbooks, American Classic and Traditional Mexican.


Transamerica Center for Health Studies ® (TCHS) is a division of Transamerica Institute, ® a national non-profit, private foundation. TCHS informs the national healthcare conversation by bringing clarity to the complex decision-making regarding health coverage and personal health and wellness. TCHS is focused on empowering consumers and employers so that they can achieve the best value and protection from their health coverage, as well as the best outcomes in their personal health and wellness.


The Association of Black Women Physicians (ABWP) is an organized network of African-American women physicians committed to the improvement of public health and welfare, through the advancement of knowledge concerning women and community health. ABWP is a nonprofit organization supporting projects that improve the health and wellness concerns of traditionally under-served communities and assisting in eliminating health disparities. ABWP also endeavors to enhance the personal and professional quality of life for present and future African-American women physicians.


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